While vitamin K is best known for its role in healthy blood clotting, new research supports the role of vitamin K1 and K2 in promoting bone health. In a study of postmenopausal women, those who consumed dairy products enriched with vitamin K2 showed significantly better bone-building utilization of calcium.
Vitamin K helps maintain bone mass by activating a protein called osteocalcin that is needed to move calcium from the blood to bones.
During the one year study, the women were divided into four groups: three groups consumed an enriched dairy product daily and the placebo group consumed a dairy product without enrichment. In the enriched groups, the dairy product was fortified0 with either: calcium (800 mg) and vitamin D3 (10 ug); calcium and vitamin D3 with vitamin K1; or calcium and vitamin D3 with K2.
At the end of the study, the K1 and K2 groups showed lower ratios of inactivated to activated osteocalcin than the other groups which meant better bone utilization of serum calcium. A marker for bone breakdown called deoxypyridinoline was also significantly lower in the vitamin K groups compared to the placebo and calcium/vitamin D group.
While all the women receiving enriched dairy products improved in tests of bone mineral density compared to the placebo groups, lumbar spine bone mineral density improved only in the vitamin K groups.
Vitamin K Deficiency
Another study of vitamin K identified those that are most likely to be deficient in vitamin K. They measured the K1 levels in over 704 male and female subjects representing various races and ethnicities. Low serum K1 status was found in 24% of whites, 33% of Hispanics, 29% of African-Americans and 4% of Chinese-Americans.
Foods Containing Vitamin K
To make sure you’re getting enough vitamin K in your diet, here are some excellent sources of vitamin K: kale, spinach, collard greens, swiss chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, parsley, romain lettuce and broccoli. Vitamin K is not affected by heat so feel free to enjoy these veggies fresh or cooked.
For additional nutritional bone health support, try CNCA Health formulas Cal-Mag Plus and Osteo Nutrients PRO - now fortified with Vitamin K2-7.